(Update and just to make clear - I totally support Prop. 2 - Operations levy. My discussion here is ONLY about Prop. 1 - BTA.)
Just to make sure, why are you voting for the BTA levy?
As a SPS parent and certified (in one way or another) PTSA member, of course my first impulse is to vote YES. I mean, all of us here are regularly saying how there aren't enough resources for so many things and so the district needs money.
So I'll give you a survey at the end and you tell me.
But first, I am curious about how people feel about the building that houses your child's school. Does your school have facilities issues (of a maintenance kind, big or small)?
The district has to figure out somewhere between $35M-$45M in cuts for the budget. I do know that most people want to believe that cuts are made to keep money going to the classroom. But where is the visible proof of that? Is that wishful thinking or can we look at the district budget and say, oh here's where it is? The district makes announcements about trimming the budget "we have a hiring freeze" and then somehow, someone new turns up at the headquarters.
What is interesting to me is while we can agreed that there is waste and inefficiency in all governmental entities, we seem to give schools more of a pass. Can you tell me why you think parents and other voters might feel that way? Isn't fiscal efficiency the real goal? More bang for the buck?
It's funny because when I sat down with a couple of members of the Seattle Times' editorial board recently, they wanted to talk about the district for a long time before we got to the levies. It was a pleasant surprise. So what did I say? Obviously, I said what I think which is that in all the time I have been in this district (with a few short windows of exception), we have always been in churn and always on uneasy financial footing. Always. And I don't just mean lack of money but continuous issues with money.
Superintendents and Board members come and go and everyone, everyone wants to put their stamp on the district and start something new. If I were a teacher or staffer, it would exhaust and frustrate me. And the fact that this district can seemingly never get on a good financial footing makes me wonder. Does our reach exceed our grasp? Can this district not live within its means? Because honestly, that's what it looks like (and I think that's what it especially looks like to the Legislature). If we don't have the money, we just plain don't have the money. On that note, here's the survey:
I'm voting for the BTA levy because... (you can choose more than one)
a) I always vote for school levies
b) we need the money and it doesn't matter to me how they spend it
c) it doesn't make sense to me to vote for one levy and not the other
d) losing a levy sends a bad signal about our district/I consider a levy vote a vote of support for the district
e) if we lose the levy, it might be difficult to regain it back
f) all of the above
g) other (please specify)
One last question. What would be your take on this outcome? The Operations Levy passes but the BTA III levy does not.